Being environmentally friendly can be hard work, but once you kick some of those bad habits and get some new ones, it’s usually pretty smooth sailing.
Many of us can’t even fathom going to the supermarket without our reusable bags, or ordering a beef burger for our dinner.
But there are still a few lingering habits some of us haven’t even thought about yet! Let’s take a look at some of the un-environmentally habits that you probably are still doing, and how to stop doing them!
Bad Habit #1
Using Plastic Bags To Pack Your Fruit And Veg In In The Supermarket
I’ve heard every excuse under the sun for using plastic bags for your fruits and vegetables at the supermarket.
The shopping carts are full of germs.
Yup. And your hands, which have just been touching that shopping cart, lifted that fruit and/or veg from its shelf to place them in the plastic bags.
Bacteria/germs travel fast. Just wash them when you get home.
I’m afraid they’ll get squished.
Just segment your shopping cart. Place your fruit and veg in one corner and make sure that you secure bigger items, such as cereal boxes or milk, around them (be sure that they’re lying down so that they don’t fall). If you have a 2-tiered cart, or one with a cage already in it, well ta-da!
How much do you think a plastic bag will protect them anyways?
It gets messy if you don’t bag them.
Ok, I confess. Spinach out of the bag is a pain. For this, I’d suggest re-using some plastic bags. Keep the bag and then bring them with you with your other reusable bags!
The cashier hands will dirty them.
Again, everything in the place is dirty. Just make sure you wash them when you get home and you should be fine!
Bad Habit #2
Not Keeping Wrapping Paper
Ok, I get that if you had to rip the thing open because somebody used too much cellotape (which, by the way, is also an environmentally unfriendly habit to have) then I guess you have to throw it away. Unless, of course, you’re super artsy and can find uses for everything.
For the rest of us though, getting a nicely wrapped gift is always great. My favourite are the ones that open super easily.
Because that way I can fold them right back up and bring them home with me and reuse them for somebody else!
Ribbons and bows too! Keep them! They’re super easy to reuse, and will save you money in the long run!
Another great idea is to check out WragWrap or this method of wrapping presents without paper, by using fabric as gift wrap to encourage people not to be wasteful.
Bad Habit #3
Using Disposable Chopsticks
This only applies if you’re an Asian foodie fan, but if so – are you guilty of using disposable chopsticks and then throwing them away?
I know I am!
They always came with my takeaway and I didn’t think anything of it.
That is, until I saw these cheap reusable chopsticks for sale. Oops.
In fact hundreds of acres of forest are felled every year to produce chopsticks.
Think of chopsticks like forks and knives, we don’t throw those out after every use so why do we do it with chopsticks?
Bad Habit #4
Turning Off The Lights Every Time You Leave A Room
Ok. It’s good that you’re in the habit of turning the lights off, it really is.
And you’re probably doing the right thing.
But it really depends on the type of lights that you have whether or not it will actually be energy efficient for you to turn them off if you’re going to be coming right back.
If you’re using energy-efficient light bulbs, it’s actually better if you leave them on. The more energy-efficient, the longer you can leave it on before it become cost-effective and energy-efficient to turn it off.
I know, it’s confusing right?
Well, let’s throw a few examples at you then:
Incandescent lights you can turn off straight away. At any possible point. They’re horribly energy inefficient and should really just be banned altogether. (Oh wait, they are moving to ban them!)
However, fluorescent lights can be left on for a little bit longer (about 5 minutes).
This is because they’re operating life is shortened by how often they’re turned on and off, and the pay off of having to buy new ones is more environmentally damaging then saving them by leaving them on slightly longer.
So if you’re going to be right back, leave them on!
Bad Habit #5
Leaving Appliances Plugged In
People still think that if you don’t have something plugged in to a wire, then it’ll stop emitting energy.
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth.
There is still power produced by these wires is called “vampire energy” or “standby power” and costs $10 billion of wasted energy in a year in the U.S.
Bad Habit #6
Most of us own a pair of jeans. In fact, the average North American owns seven pairs.
But did you know that it takes a whole lot of water to make those jeans? Levi’s has said that it takes more than 1500 litres of water to make just a single pair of its jeans.
The thing is, denim is great. It lasts for so long. So invest in a few good pairs, and try to conserve energy (and the space in your wardrobe) by leaving it at that.
Are there any little habits that you do that you think are possibly environmentally unfriendly? If so, let us know in the comments section below or tweet us @greenerideal
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.
Interesting article and some very good points. I have replaced all the incandescents in the house with LED’s now. So, due to the fact that they do not have the issues that CFL’s have, I turn them off when not in use. Also, LED lights while certainly not inexpensive, the additional energy savings and lower carbon footprint make them viable. Although I live in the US, which means that when I Fart my carbon footprint is larger than those in other countries.
I take some newspaper to wrap up Vegi’s from the market. This works… and any paper that I do not use is used later for wrapping items for mailing or on Christmas.
We re-use the plastic bags, so we try to always get a few, (we re-use them untill they break, they’ll get recycled. Or they are SO dirty we use them as a trashbin-bag) and we re-use wrapping paper and decorations, boxes, everything. Our whole house is one big recycle-centre, with paper and plastic and cartboard and wood and bags and everything.
I reuse mine as well but they are from last year when in person shopping was not possible at our Saturday market. I appludyour reusing them but there are reusable produce bags if you are interested. I am not judging but only giving out a bit of info.
I ended up with plastic bags last year from curb site pick up at the Farmer’s Market and still use them. I also have reusable produce bags which I will get more of if necessary. I did not know about the lightbulbs and the reminds me to check some my bulbs in the basement.that were here when I moved in. i do unplug the two appliances I keep out. I remember my father wa always telling us to turn the lights off not because he was an environmentalist as it was many years ago but because it cost money. the habit stays with me though and I am very prudent about lights and electricity.Sadly people find it too easy you make excuses to not act responsibly. I am far from perfect but I feel it is my duty to do the best I van for nature and animals.
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Thank you – so much helpful information here! I also want to mention such a bad habit as taking a bath. I know that it can be the only thing you dream of at the end of a busy day, but taking a shower can be no less relaxing. And unlike bath tubs, showers consume less water. You can get even more benefits from it by installing a low-flow shower head. Low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40% or more!
Thank you for bringing this up! Another thing I want to suggest will also benefit the world and your wallet. I’m talking about windows. Keep them open.
Start by locating any south-facing windows in your home — those are typically the ones that receive the most sun. During the day, keep your blinds or curtains wide open to take advantage of the natural heat coming in. This will keep your house warmer and can keep your thermostat lower.
Another eco-unfriendly habit I’d like to mention is using commercial drain cleaners. I know this is a quick and easy way to unclog pipes, but in reality, it does more harm than good. Off-the-shelf cleaners harm the environment, your health, and your pipes. Just read what plumbers say about this: https://escoutah.com/are-drain-cleaners-safe-for-my-pipes/.